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Why We Need To Teach Hacking In High School

Unknown Lamer posted about 7 months ago | from the rms-teaches-programming dept.

Education 124

An anonymous reader writes "Following one of the best descriptions ever of a hacker I've ever seen, Pete Herzog, creator of the 'security testing' (professional hacking) manual OSSTMM outlines compelling reasons why the traits of the hacker should be taught in school to make better students and better people. It starts out with 'Whatever you may have heard about hackers, the truth is they do something really, really well: discover.' and it covers open education, teaching kids to think for themselves, and promoting hacking as a tool for progress." A good read, despite confusing hacker and hacker a bit. I remember getting to set up Debian on a scrap machine in high school, only to have county IT kill the project because of the horrible danger experimentation could have proven to the network...

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Yes another thing to teach highschool students (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46361433)

Every industry wants their industry taught in high school, maybe we should teach things that are useful in general instead of SQL injection or writing Haskell.

Re: Yes another thing to teach highschool students (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46361451)

You must have beet taught hacking in your HS to get such amazing froth on your frost piss!

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (5, Insightful)

nucrash (549705) | about 7 months ago | (#46361671)

I think the biggest thing is that we need to focus on how to make the students learn rather than trying to initiate them into a bunch of subjects they may or may not be interested in. I know students who will never love math, English, history, or science, but if we can pique their curiosity in such a way that they begin to dig for information outside of school, then we have done more for a student than shoving a curriculum down their throat ever will. This is fundamentally what good teachers are for. They take an existing curriculum and try to drive the student to find information out rather than provide the students with answers to questions on a test.

Hacking is a great skill to have. Is it a life skill? Not really. Having the desire to hack is far more important because the students will seek the knowledge.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46362287)

Adult humans in the 21st century _need_ to know math, English (where applicable, although who are we kidding, that's everywhere), history, and science. That we currently let the vast majority slide by without even knowing the basics, simply because it doesn't interest them as much as their iPhone, Xbox, or fax machine is disgraceful.

Yes, we need teachers who can make these subjects interesting to students, but at some point the curriculum needs to be shoved down those ungrateful throats unless we want to continue living in a world of over-educated illiterates.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 7 months ago | (#46363655)

I'd narrow it down a little... I'd say reading comprehension, and writing are the single most important skills to have. With those, you can learn anything else on your own (or close to it) when you need it. Civics and History would probably be second and third on my list... all before math (beyond the very basic addition/subtraction/multiplication/division).

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46363747)

I agree with this. I would clarify reading comprehension to include logic (consistency and fallacies) and critical thinking, and learning how to fact-check and search for information. So you not only understand what the author was saying, but have the tools to question it.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (2)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 7 months ago | (#46364887)

add compounding interest as part of some basic consumer math

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (1)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 7 months ago | (#46363883)

I think the biggest thing is that we need to focus on how to make the students learn rather than trying to initiate them into a bunch of subjects they may or may not be interested in. I know students who will never love math, English, history, or science, but if we can pique their curiosity in such a way that they begin to dig for information outside of school, then we have done more for a student than shoving a curriculum down their throat ever will. This is fundamentally what good teachers are for. They take an existing curriculum and try to drive the student to find information out rather than provide the students with answers to questions on a test.

Hacking is a great skill to have. Is it a life skill? Not really. Having the desire to hack is far more important because the students will seek the knowledge.

Well first you'll have to figure out how to teach teachers to enjoy seeking out information rather than just sliding by to get a degree in babysitting. You're going to have an uphill battle with that one.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (4, Insightful)

Soulskill (1459) | about 7 months ago | (#46361697)

It's not the particular language that's important -- once you get beyond the basic syntax of a language, it's really about analyzing a problem and being able to break it down into logically ordered steps, and then manipulating algorithms to do what you want. Those skills are very broadly applicable, and useful whatever a kid's profession ends up being.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (3, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#46361805)

And the trick, good soulskill, is that not everyone is an INTJ for whom this is the natural way to attack a problem.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46362247)

Well, you can see how well solving problems by attacking them with feelings works for you if you want. Me, I'll go with the way that works, instead of the way that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 7 months ago | (#46362271)

Well, you can see how well solving problems by attacking them with feelings works for you if you want.

That's exactly how most people work, basically. Intelligent? Not at all.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#46362527)

No, let's go over the difference, okay:

I vs. E: Solve the problem yourself, find people and get them to help you solve it
N vs S: figure out how to solve the problem vs try to spot a solution to the problem.
T vs F: what you just said
J vs P: solve the problem vs. begin to deal the problem as much as necessary.

Much as it's not intuitive to you and I, none of these approaches are inherently wrong, or even inferior.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46362977)

Is it possible for most people to be trained to think critically, to solve problems themselves when needed, and to employ logic when needed? I want it to be true, but I'm not sure. I think I could do a decent job teaching a young me, knowing my motivations and interests and all the pitfalls and wastes of time to avoid that I went through personally in public schools. But I don't know how I'd mentor others with different personalities and interests. I would still want to foster ingenuity, logic, and perseverance (among other qualities), but each person (or type of person) would likely need a different approach.

How do we use knowledge of these different ways humans work to help each type in its own way for a better humanity? What will "stick" with little Bobby Manager when he's in grade school so later in life he can critically assess a situation and perform his job better? If logic and fine-detail problem solving are something he just can't wrap his head around, can we instead emphasize a "trust your engineers" (for engineering problems) attitude from an early age? In the sense of helping people understand their role and how it interacts with the roles of others in an organization. I really don't know. Logic, critical thinking, breaking problems apart and trying to understand have been such an integral part and joy of my life I don't know how to help others find their happiness and be all they can be.

I would guess that Slashdot has a majority of INTP/INTJ users, but I really would like any advice on teaching/encouraging other personalities if anyone has any.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 7 months ago | (#46363059)

Yes, some people are INTP, and prefer to analyze the problem thoroughly and investigate all possible solutions to make sure that the best solution is chosen. Starting to solve the problem immediately is where madness lies. In fact, is it even a problem? Perhaps it's a new undocumented feature. More study is required.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 7 months ago | (#46363315)

And still other people realize that all this INTP/INTJ/whatever garbage is pseudoscience that serves only to satisfy people who have a strong desire for simplistic labels above all else.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46363647)

The benefit I see from using such simplistic personality labels is that it highlights differences between people that can cause some fairly large misunderstandings. One definition of an extrovert is someone who feels energized being around other people, and an introvert is one who needs time alone to recharge. It is a continuum, and a person may move along it at different times, but it is a common enough trend for people to be on one end or the other that it becomes useful as a label. Understanding that people are fundamentally different in this way can help clear up why Joe doesn't always hang out with his other coworkers every lunch, or after work, and that it isn't necessarily that Joe doesn't like them. Yes, saying Joe is an introvert is using a simple label, but is a more detailed explanation of what is going on necessary?

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 7 months ago | (#46363707)

The benefit I see from using such simplistic personality labels is that it highlights differences between people that can cause some fairly large misunderstandings.

On the other hand, the general buys into this pseudoscience and gains an even larger misconception of what real science looks like.

Yes, saying Joe is an introvert is using a simple label, but is a more detailed explanation of what is going on necessary?

Yes, it is, because giving people crappy multiple choice tests and asking them to evaluate how they believe they act isn't exactly scientific; it's just garbage.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46363965)

On the other hand, the general buys into this pseudoscience and gains an even larger misconception of what real science looks like.

Yes, it is, because giving people crappy multiple choice tests and asking them to evaluate how they believe they act isn't exactly scientific; it's just garbage.

I agree that the multiple choice tests are garbage and much of the soft sciences misleads the population--and the people seem to buy it. I do think humans and society are worth understanding, even though as fields they are rife with pseudoscience. I don't have an answer; these are complex subjects and so are the experiments to study them. I think people can be very different from each other and awareness of some of these differences can help to understand and get along with others. So from the coworkers' perspectives I just meant that they understood Joe just wanted a quiet lunch alone, and maybe will always need that time alone, and they don't need a detailed biological explanation. I do agree that researchers should be going into much more depth with their studies, and as a field should take strides to separate themselves from pseudoscience.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46364287)

So from the coworkers' perspectives I just meant that they understood Joe just wanted a quiet lunch alone, and maybe will always need that time alone, and they don't need a detailed biological explanation.

Nor do they need this INTP/INTJ-type trash. They merely need a simple understanding of some of that person's preferences, which can be had without any of that other nonsense.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46364259)

And the trick, good soulskill, is that not everyone is an INTJ for whom this is the natural way to attack a problem.

This debunked pseudoscientific nonsense again? Myers-Briggs is just BS. Avoid any institution that uses it. They may as well be reading tea leaves.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator#Criticism

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#46365273)

It's a framework for attempting at getting to one aspect of psychology. In that a lot of studies that use it are empirical, their conclusion can be falsifiable it is anything but pseudoscience(and a number of claims have been falsified). You'll notice that criticism section doesn't use that word, because it's not really applicable.

It's not:
A. In primary usage among psychologists who have found other objective measures, that are equally if not more utilitarian
B. More pop-psych than not
C. A little vague
D. Used in situations it shouldn't be(like hiring)

But none of that means it lacks predictive utility(it does, in fact). You can find a lot of information to that effect, just by searching scholarly publications. [google.com]

So, no, I'm not going to just throw it out as a means of communicating ideas to others because an AC tells me to, and links to part of wikipedia I've read before.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46365345)

Pseudoscience (Which has multiple meanings, by the way.) is exactly what most psychology is. It's hardly scientific, rarely repeated, often based on subjective criteria, and doesn't often have any of the rigor that you'd find in fields like physics. To lump this sort of garbage in with normal science is an insult to real science.

So, no, I'm not going to just throw it out as a means of communicating ideas to others because an AC tells me to, and links to part of wikipedia I've read before.

There are much less misleading ways of communicating ideas. The problem with this garbage is that it gets in the general public's head and makes them believe that this is what real science looks like, but it's not.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 months ago | (#46361753)

Kids started to apprentice really young back in the old days. Now students have to wait until university/college until they are allowed to specialize, at least as far as school is concerned. Perhaps we should give high school students more freedom to specialize at a younger age. If some kid knows he wants to be a carpenter, why not let him have a wood shop class every semester.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (2)

datavirtue (1104259) | about 7 months ago | (#46362743)

Indeed....an high school is too late. If they aren't able to take command of a ship at age twelve I believe the kid is already spoiled beyond repair.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46362013)

Never considering hacking to be 'sql injection'. But hey guess you could go with that definition.

'Hacking' I think in this sense is more akin to making. But hackers would 'break' things to make new things. He is using the classical definition in the article. Not the 24/7 news ratings version.

It is a good skill to have as you know how to break things you know how to make better things. I used to do this as a kid and did not even realize I was doing it. But mostly my dad would only get mad if I would pull it apart and not be able to put it back together....

It is more about thinking outside of the box and what tools you have available and what you could make out of your existing resources.

Maker is what many of these guys have been calling themselves lately. As hacker took on a bad term.

But to truly know how it works you need to be able to take it apart understand what each part does and put it back the same way. Then do it again but maybe change things around a bit to make something better or unexpected.

In one interview I did they gave us pipe cleaners and puffs of cotton. We were told to make a communication device. Most people twisted them to look like cell phones. My group took them literally and made a communication device with them using good old fashioned binary. Plus we had a lot of fun throwing things at each other and catching them in a 'bucket/net'. We took their requirements turned them on ear. They expected a twisted up pipe cleaner that looked like a cell phone and built them a real functioning system in under an hour. It was because we understood our materials and our requirements.

It is also a good skill to have. As you can understand what are the motivators of people breaking into your system. How to make it more difficult or easy...

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 7 months ago | (#46363617)

I do feel that this is a bit different... I feel hacking is about discovering how things work, and getting creative with making changes to how they work.. this can actually range from crafts, art, design, cooking, and other skills as well. It's about teaching discovery and learning.

On the flip side, the thought of training a generation of kids to be *creative* with technology probably terrifies some people in the government to no end.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46364545)

I feel hacking is about discovering how things work

I'm going to pick on you but you're not the only one. You and the other slashdotters can cry about the old definition of "hacking" all day long, the fact is that a hacker is a criminal according to how that word is currently defined and used by everyone outside a very small group of industry insiders. A hacker is someone who is maliciously attacking a system for laughs, personal gain, etc. It's not about exploration, it's not about being curious. That's the old definition, it's gone and it's been gone for at least 20 years now... so get over it.

Re:Yes another thing to teach highschool students (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 7 months ago | (#46364667)

Hacking is an industry?

I don't think so (4, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 7 months ago | (#46361453)

The school admins already have a hard enough time dealing with kids destroying things, both logically and physically. Now you expect them to be on the level enough to be able to stave away actually taught hackers? How much are you willing to pay for this little experiment (both in the admins pay, and the cost of cleaning up the disasters)?

Re:I don't think so (5, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | about 7 months ago | (#46361669)

This, because, as alluded to in TFS, it always creates more work for them. Observe:

I remember getting to set up Debian on a scrap machine in high school, only to have county IT kill the project because of the horrible danger experimentation could have proven to the network...

I'm here to tell you that an uncontrolled machine ran by amateurs is a prime example of 'danger to the network'. I still recall the day the new guy named his Ubuntu box the same thing as our domain suffix. Only because I knew what was supposed to be on the network and what wasn't was I able to get things back up and running again. The same thing can happen with a simple IP address conflict.

In short, to do this with any educational value, IT would have to segregate the network to prevent accidental student damage. From what I know of most educational IT, they lack the time, money, and (sorry to say) skills/training to do this for their production networks, let alone standing up test labs for hackers to play with.

Maybe in an IT-centric school, sure. But primary education? Puhlease.

Re:I don't think so (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46362137)

VirtualBox, VMware Workstation is a great environment where you can set up your own virtualized TCP/IP network for VMed clients that doesn't leave the machine. People need to step away from hardware until they know more about it.

Re:I don't think so (2)

ray-auch (454705) | about 7 months ago | (#46362145)

This, because, as alluded to in TFS, it always creates more work for them. Observe:

I remember getting to set up Debian on a scrap machine in high school, only to have county IT kill the project because of the horrible danger experimentation could have proven to the network...

I'm here to tell you that an uncontrolled machine ran by amateurs is a prime example of 'danger to the network'.

Some of us can still recall when any Linux box could (and did) cause a packet storm if the subnet mask was not on a byte boundary.

From what I know of most educational IT, they lack the time, money, and (sorry to say) skills/training to do this for their production networks, let alone standing up test labs for hackers to play with.

Yes, but these days you can set up your test lab virtual and isolated (on pretty much and desktop or even laptop) - let the students do that themselves to learn. Not too many settings you'd have to check/lock to ensure network isolation. I haven't seen a physical test lab (for software testing) in years.

Re:I don't think so (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 7 months ago | (#46363689)

Maybe if they paid an IT staff more than 1/3 the prevailing industry wage, and had a hiring process resembling something the industry supports (in terms of timeframe). Most people aren't looking for a job until they need one, and a 3-6 month hiring process for 1/3 the pay won't do.

Re:I don't think so (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 7 months ago | (#46364657)

Then let's give them un-networked boxes to play with, or at least isolated physically from anything but other hackboxes. And also consider all of the other things you could do away from a computer, and still qualify as a hacker.

Now that I've invalidated your objection, do you have anything else?

Re:I don't think so (1)

gnick (1211984) | about 7 months ago | (#46361679)

If you try to hide it from everyone, the only people able to access it are the people who want to exploit it and the few who are dedicated enough to stopping it to stray out of bounds to do so. Make it available to everyone who wants access and you'll also get the people who want to stop it without stepping out of bounds.

(I'm one of the lucky few who went WAY out of bounds and never got caught, but learned enough to make a career out of it.)

Re:I don't think so (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46361913)

Restricting access to dangerous things to prevent disaster? Too bad the NRA won't follow that line of thought.

Re:I don't think so (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 7 months ago | (#46363715)

When you require an operator license to buy a computing device (phone, tablet, desktop), I'll concede the point... Most responsible gun owners I know have gun safes and/or keep the ammo in a separate secured(locked) location. Banning gun sells is not the answer.

Re:I don't think so (2)

Khopesh (112447) | about 7 months ago | (#46361985)

When I went off to college, many of my most IT-savvy freshman colleagues were versed in networks and system administration because they had run the computer labs of their high schools. Some of them had been caught cracking or otherwise mucking about in ways that the school staff lacked the ability to revert and been forced to clean up after themselves, others saw messes and volunteered to help out. They got paid and had responsibilities. From this new perspective, they learned the "damage" students could deal and then had the hands-on task of cleaning it up. I wish I had had that opportunity.

In this sort of environment, especially given the ubiquity of virtual machines and virtual networks, a well-facilitated capture the flag [wikipedia.org] (CTF) event should be easy enough to facilitate. Even without virtualization (or even any lab at all), any school could reach out to a local hacker group and ask them to host a CTF event. The cost of scrounging up a bunch of computers and networking equipment for a one-shot event should be decently low given the spare parts in your typical hacker group or Linux users group. Maybe the school or city could even provide a budget for the event.

Re:I don't think so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46362109)

I taught kids to use computers (200 hours per year per class). I taught, but more encouraged, hacking skills. We had a class rule that if you hacked someone's computer, it could be simply restored. Maybe you'd just tell them how to remove a system extension or to boot up with extensions off. In 8 years, with multiple classes per year, they never once violated this rule. They wanted the fun of playing tricks and just needed a simple guideline. I'm sure that the thinking benefits stay with them all for life.

-- Steve Wozniak

Ever work in a high school? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 7 months ago | (#46361457)

Kids are going to practice "hacker" methodology plenty enough. Schools should stick to teaching fundamentals that they won't bother learning on their own. Besides, they need exposure ot the disciplinarian side of programming as well. Hopefully, enough will sink in so that when they get their first jobs they'll be somewhat prepared for the shift.

Re:Ever work in a high school? (3, Insightful)

litehacksaur111 (2895607) | about 7 months ago | (#46361477)

I agree. If anything schools here should be more like schools in Germany where they have strong vocational training programs for people who are not suitable for university education. Also it would be nice if schools worked with students and their parents to steer them towards careers they find interesting instead of trying to force a generic curriculum on everyone.

Re:Ever work in a high school? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 7 months ago | (#46362103)

Yeah, that works in Germany.

The moment that kids were identified as unsuitable for college in America and shunted off to vocational programs, the racism lawsuits would come so fast they'd make your head spin.

Re:Ever work in a high school? (1)

litehacksaur111 (2895607) | about 7 months ago | (#46362579)

Why did you try to interject race into this? They have magnet schools here in many states which are public schools where entrance is merit based. These schools are not being with lawsuits. Please go and look at the top schools list in the US News rankings because you have no clue what you are talking about. Also I did not say that vocation jobs were inferior to college educated jobs. You however seem to imply that. Vocational training in plumbing, construction, drafting, electrician type work, machining, etc would do a lot to help kids in high school more than any of those stupid don't do drugs campaigns. The problem with schools today is two fold. The parents don't care about their kids enough to spend time with them and are using school as a substitute for daycare. The administrators seeing this are busy turning schools into a prison pipeline while making 3-4 times what a teacher makes.

Re:Ever work in a high school? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46361567)

Kids are going to practice "hacker" methodology plenty enough.

Not really. A grand majority can't do much beyond accessing their Facebook accounts.

Still, what we don't need are more losers becoming programmers; we have enough of those already.

Schools should stick to teaching fundamentals that they won't bother learning on their own.

In other words, schools are for unintelligent and unmotivated people who won't/cannot learn on their own. For the elite few intelligent people, they're detrimental, as they're just rote memorization factories.

Already known, and available (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46361461)

It's called constructivist learning, and one of the reasons why I have my children in Montessori school. :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructivism_(learning_theory)

useless for college can where it's all theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46361513)

and hr wants the degree

Oh Come On (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46361521)

How the hell are we supposed to churn out docile serfs if we go and teach them to think for themselves? You really need to be more careful about this, slashdot.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46361523)

We teach enough subjects already. Schools need to put more focus on writing and mathematics. Those are the subjects that support all others. Maybe a better idea is to set up a hacker/maker space in one of the rooms and give kids the option of going there when they want.

Re:No (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 7 months ago | (#46361605)

Schools need to put more focus on writing and mathematics.

Hopefully they stop teaching mathematics like it's a rote memorization game.

Those are the subjects that support all others.

Most people won't ever use the more 'advanced' mathematics, but still, I guess that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to educate the unintelligent masses.

Re:No (3, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | about 7 months ago | (#46361741)

I'm educated in Math FAR beyond the point that I think I'll ever need to be. In fact, far beyond the point that anyone outside academia needs to be. And I enjoyed very little of it, but was exceptionally good at it. As far as I'm concerned, studying it wasn't to gain knowledge or mathematical skills, it was more of an exercise in mental flexibility. And, despite what I thought at the time, I don't think that studying literature, history, or religious ed., were complete wastes either.

Re:No (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 7 months ago | (#46361991)

As far as I'm concerned, studying it wasn't to gain knowledge or mathematical skills, it was more of an exercise in mental flexibility.

In public schools, it's more of a rote memorization exercise.

Re:No (1)

gnick (1211984) | about 7 months ago | (#46362421)

I started going to college for my math, physics, and chem as a high-school sophomore mostly for that reason (plus if you're still in high school, most states will pay for college classes if they have no courses to offer you in the public schools). Anybody with sufficient motivation and intellect could go to public grade school, ask "you want me to just memorize this?" and then pass the final the next week (probably forgetting that useless garbage on their way out the door.) In college, even in state schools, you're limited more by professors than courses and seeking out and impressing yourself on worthy professors isn't a huge hurdle.

That said, if you just need enough math to make change, calculate tips, possibly book reservations, and work a register, there's a very large sociological niche for that too. And, if you're good at relating to people, you stand a good chance of excelling in that niche. Different strokes, you know?

Senator Joe McCarthy would tell you... (1)

alphatel (1450715) | about 7 months ago | (#46361529)

Hacker = terrorist

Government & Stealth Malware (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46361533)

Nobody Seems To Notice and Nobody Seems To Care - Government & Stealth Malware

##

In Response To Slashdot Article: Former Pentagon Analyst: China Has Backdoors To 80% of Telecoms

(The reader should know this article was written and distributed prior to the "badBIOS" revelations.)

How many rootkits does the US[2] use officially or unofficially?

How much of the free but proprietary software in the US spies on you?

Which software would that be?

Visit any of the top freeware sites in the US, count the number of thousands or millions of downloads of free but proprietary software, much of it works, again on a proprietary Operating System, with files stored or in transit.

How many free but proprietary programs have you downloaded and scanned entire hard drives, flash drives, and other media? Do you realize you are giving these types of proprietary programs complete access to all of your computer's files on the basis of faith alone?

If you are an atheist, the comparison is that you believe in code you cannot see to detect and contain malware on the basis of faith! So you do believe in something invisible to you, don't you?

I'm now going to touch on a subject most anti-malware, commercial or free, developers will DELETE on most of their forums or mailing lists:

APT malware infecting and remaining in BIOS, on PCI and AGP devices, in firmware, your router (many routers are forced to place backdoors in their firmware for their government) your NIC, and many other devices.

Where are the commercial or free anti-malware organizations and individual's products which hash and compare in the cloud and scan for malware for these vectors? If you post on mailing lists or forums of most anti-malware organizations about this threat, one of the following actions will apply: your post will be deleted and/or moved to a hard to find or 'deleted/junk posts' forum section, someone or a team of individuals will mock you in various forms 'tin foil hat', 'conspiracy nut', and my favorite, 'where is the proof of these infections?' One only needs to search Google for these threats and they will open your malware world view to a much larger arena of malware on devices not scanned/supported by the scanners from these freeware sites. This point assumed you're using the proprietary Microsoft Windows OS. Now, let's move on to Linux.

The rootkit scanners for Linux are few and poor. If you're lucky, you'll know how to use chkrootkit (but you can use strings and other tools for analysis) and show the strings of binaries on your installation, but the results are dependent on your capability of deciphering the output and performing further analysis with various tools or in an environment such as Remnux Linux. None of these free scanners scan the earlier mentioned areas of your PC, either! Nor do they detect many of the hundreds of trojans and rootkits easily available on popular websites and the dark/deep web.

Compromised defenders of Linux will look down their nose at you (unless they are into reverse engineering malware/bad binaries, Google for this and Linux and begin a valuable education!) and respond with a similar tone, if they don't call you a noob or point to verifying/downloading packages in a signed repo/original/secure source or checking hashes, they will jump to conspiracy type labels, ignore you, lock and/or shuffle the thread, or otherwise lead you astray from learning how to examine bad binaries. The world of Linux is funny in this way, and I've been a part of it for many years. The majority of Linux users, like the Windows users, will go out of their way to lead you and say anything other than pointing you to information readily available on detailed binary file analysis.

Don't let them get you down, the information is plenty and out there, some from some well known publishers of Linux/Unix books. Search, learn, and share the information on detecting and picking through bad binaries. But this still will not touch the void of the APT malware described above which will survive any wipe of r/w media. I'm convinced, on both *nix and Windows, these pieces of APT malware are government in origin. Maybe not from the US, but most of the 'curious' malware I've come across in poisoned binaries, were written by someone with a good knowledge in English, some, I found, functioned similar to the now well known Flame malware. From my experience, either many forum/mailing list mods and malware developers/defenders are 'on the take', compromised themselves, and/or working for a government entity.

Search enough, and you'll arrive at some lone individuals who cry out their system is compromised and nothing in their attempts can shake it of some 'strange infection'. These posts receive the same behavior as I said above, but often they are lone posts which receive no answer at all, AT ALL! While other posts are quickly and kindly replied to and the 'strange infection' posts are left to age and end up in a lost pile of old threads.

If you're persistent, the usual challenge is to, "prove it or STFU" and if the thread is not attacked or locked/shuffled and you're lucky to reference some actual data, they will usually attack or ridicule you and further drive the discussion away from actual proof of APT infections.

The market is ripe for an ambitious company or individual to begin demanding companies and organizations who release firmware and design hardware to release signed and hashed packages and pour this information into the cloud, so everyone's BIOS is checked, all firmware on routers, NICs, and other devices are checked, and malware identified and knowledge reported and shared openly.

But even this will do nothing to stop backdoored firmware (often on commercial routers and other networked devices of real importance for government use - which again opens the possibility of hackers discovering these backdoors) people continue to use instead of refusing to buy hardware with proprietary firmware/software.

Many people will say, "the only safe computer is the one disconnected from any network, wireless, wired, LAN, internet, intranet" but I have seen and you can search yourself for and read about satellite, RF, temperature, TEMPEST (is it illegal in your part of the world to SHIELD your system against some of these APT attacks, especially TEMPEST? And no, it's not simply a CRT issue), power line and many other attacks which can and do strike computers which have no active network connection, some which have never had any network connection. Some individuals have complained they receive APT attacks throughout their disconnected systems and they are ridiculed and labeled as a nutter. The information exists, some people have gone so far as to scream from the rooftops online about it, but they are nutters who must have some serious problems and this technology with our systems could not be possible.

I believe most modern computer hardware is more powerful than many of us imagine, and a lot of these systems swept from above via satellite and other attacks. Some exploits take advantage of packet radio and some of your proprietary hardware. Some exploits piggyback and unless you really know what you're doing, and even then... you won't notice it.

Back to the Windows users, a lot of them will dismiss any strange activity to, "that's just Windows!" and ignore it or format again and again only to see the same APT infected activity continue. Using older versions of sysinternals, I've observed very bizarre behavior on a few non networked systems, a mysterious chat program running which doesn't exist on the system, all communication methods monitored (bluetooth, your hard/software modems, and more), disk mirroring software running[1], scans running on different but specific file types, command line versions of popular Windows freeware installed on the system rather than the use of the graphical component, and more.

[1] In one anonymous post on pastebin, claiming to be from an intel org, it blasted the group Anonymous, with a bunch of threats and information, including that their systems are all mirrored in some remote location anyway.

[2] Or other government, US used in this case due to the article source and speculation vs. China. This is not to defend China, which is one messed up hell hole on several levels and we all need to push for human rights and freedom for China's people. For other, freer countries, however, the concentration camps exist but you would not notice them, they originate from media, mostly your TV, and you don't even know it. As George Carlin railed about "Our Owners", "nobody seems to notice and nobody seems to care".

[3] http://www.stallman.org/ [stallman.org]

Try this yourself on a wide variety of internet forums and mailing lists, push for malware scanners to scan more than files, but firmware/BIOS. See what happens, I can guarantee it won't be pleasant, especially with APT cases.

So scan away, or blissfully ignore it, but we need more people like RMS[3] in the world. Such individuals tend to be eccentric but their words ring true and clear about electronics and freedom.

I believe we're mostly pwned, whether we would like to admit it or not, blind and pwned, yet fiercely holding to misinformation, often due to lack of self discovery and education, and "nobody seems to notice and nobody seems to care".

##

Schneier has covered it before: power line fluctuations (differences on the wire in keys pressed).

There's thermal attacks against cpus and temp, also:

ENF (google it)

A treat (ENF Collector in Java):

sourceforge dot net fwdslash projects fwdslash nfienfcollector

No single antimalware scanner exists which offers the ability to scan (mostly proprietary) firmware on AGP/PCI devices (sound cards, graphics cards, usb novelty devices excluding thumb drives), BIOS/CMOS.

If you boot into ultimate boot cd you can use an archane text interface to dump BIOS/CMOS and examine/checksum.

The real attacks which survive disk formats and wipes target your PCI devices and any firmware which may be altered/overwritten with something special. It is not enough to scan your hard drive(s) and thumb drives, the real dangers with teeth infect your hardware devices.

When is the last time you:

Audited your sound card for malware?
Audited your graphics card for malware?
Audited your network card for malware?

Google for:

* AGP and PCI rootkit(s)
* Network card rootkit(s)
* BIOS/CMOS rootkit(s)

Our modern PC hardware is capable of much more than many can imagine.

Do you:

        Know your router's firmware may easily be replaced on a hacker's whim?
        Shield all cables against leakage and attacks
        Still use an old CRT monitor and beg for TEMPEST attacks?
        Use TEMPEST resistant fonts in all of your applications including your OS?
        Know whether or not your wired keyboard has keypresses encrypted as they pass to your PC from the keyboard?
        Use your PC on the grid and expose yourself to possible keypress attacks?
        Know your network card is VERY exploitable when plugged into the net and attacked by a hard core blackhat or any vicious geek with the know how?
        Sarch out informative papers on these subjects and educate your friends and family about these attacks?
        Contact antimalware companies and urge them to protect against many or all these attacks?

Do you trust your neighbors? Are they all really stupid when it comes to computing or is there a geek or two without a conscience looking to exploit these areas?

The overlooked threat are the potential civilian rogues stationed around you, especially in large apartment blocks who feed on unsecured wifi to do their dirty work.

With the recent news of Russian spies, whether or not this news was real or a psyop, educate yourself on the present threats which all antimalware scanners fail to protect against and remove any smug mask you may wear, be it Linux or OpenBSD, or the proprietary Windows and Mac OS you feel are properly secured and not vulnerable to any outside attacks because you either don't need an antivirus scanner (all are inept to serious attacks) or use one or several (many being proprietary mystery machines sending data to and from your machine for many reasons, one is to share your information with a group or set database to help aid in threats), the threats often come in mysterious ways.

Maybe the ancients had it right: stone tablets and their own unique language(s) rooted in symbolism.

#

I'm more concerned about new rootkits which target PCI devices, such as the graphics card and the optical drives, also, BIOS. Where are the malware scanners which scan PCI devices and BIOS for mismatches? All firmware, BIOS and on PCI devices should be checksummed and saved to match with others in the cloud, and archived when the computer is first used, backing up signed firmware.

When do you recall seeing signed router firmware upgrades with any type of checksum to check against? Same for PCI devices and optical drives and BIOS.

Some have begun with BIOS security:

http://www.biosbits.org/ [biosbits.org]

Some BIOS has write protection in its configuration, a lot of newer computers don't.

#

"Disconnect your PC from the internet and don't add anything you didn't create yourself. It worked for the NOC list machine in Mission Impossible"

The room/structure was likely heavily shielded, whereas most civvies don't shield their house and computer rooms. There is more than meets the eye to modern hardware.

Google:

subversion hack:
tagmeme(dot)com/subhack/
(This domain expired and has been replaced by different content. Please visit Archive.org - The Wayback Machine and dig for previous versions of original content)

network card rootkits and trojans
pci rootkits
packet radio
xmit "fm fingerprinting" software
"specific emitter identification"
forums(dot)qrz(dot)com

how many malware scanners scan bios/cmos and pci/agp cards for malware? zero, even the rootkit scanners. have you checksummed/dumped your bios/cmos and firmware for all your pci/agp devices and usb devices, esp vanity usb devices in and outside the realm of common usb devices (thumbdrives, external hdds, printers),

Unless your computer room is shielded properly, the computers may still be attacked and used, I've personally inspected computers with no network connection running mysterious code in the background which task manager for windows and the eqiv for *nix does not find, and this didn't find it all.

Inspect your windows boot partition in *nix with hexdump and look for proxy packages mentioned along with command line burning programs and other oddities. Computers are more vulnerable than most would expect.

You can bet all of the malware scanners today, unless they are developed by some lone indy coder in a remote country, employ whitelisting of certain malware and none of them scan HARDWARE devices apart from the common usb devices.

Your network cards, sound cards, cd/dvd drives, graphics cards, all are capable of carrying malware to survive disk formatting/wiping.

Boot from a Linux live cd and use hexdump to examine your windows (and *nix) boot sectors to potentially discover interesting modifications by an unknown party.

#
eof

Ridicule.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46361537)

Let's just take everything I was doing while being ridiculed and call that the right answer.

Pardon me for being a bit salty when I find my entire way of thinking and learning to be now considered "right" after I was basically a rebel for living this way.

I skipped homework and got straight A's. Then around 5th grade stopped caring about "their" stuff and instead started learning "my" stuff.

My stuff being programming, unix, C++..... their stuff was repetition of things I already knew.

I was labeled a slacker, ridiculed, and even had teachers "trying" to fail me on the grounds of motivation, even when I had good grades.

School wasn't about learning, it was about following their rules and instruction. Something I'd never do. Too strong willed.

So then I drop out of school, skip college, and earn six figures as a software developer before hitting 25. Now of course I live in a different state far away from those who treated me like a failure. I've thought to myself that my way was right the whole time but it sucks I had to be told I was wrong day by day.

Then of course when my way works.... I'm supposed to be nice and not tell anyone how much money I'm making or how successful I am. That would be rude. But they were there harassing me the whole time and now that I was right, I'm not allowed to claim victory.

Then schools are changing and acting like it was obvious all along that self-learning and skipping busy-work is now a good thing. So yeah pardon me for being salty that *now* everyone sees it that way.

Where were they when I was self teaching myself C++ years and years ago while skipping some homework assignment that has no meaning in my career as a developer.

Now I can't even keep my identify as a self-taught coder since it's now "cool" to be a geek and thus cliche when you claim to be one. Thanks for everything :)

-A hacker

Re:Ridicule.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46363573)

had teachers "trying" to fail me on the grounds of motivation, even when I had good grades.

This always infuriated me. I know college professors who use "class participation" as part of their grade. It's not grade school. These are adults (or for high-school students, near-adults). If they need to skip a class or just don't want to ask questions during your lecture (disrupting the flow is annoying, just like I disrupted the flow of this sentence), they shouldn't be penalized as long as they're learning the material.

You can't teach hacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46361541)

At best you can do "computer appreciation."

A supportive high school environment helps a lot (4, Interesting)

langelgjm (860756) | about 7 months ago | (#46361549)

I went to a private high school. It was small and didn't have many resources. Still, I was fortunate to have a very supportive environment for my exploration and learning related to computing.

The teacher who taught programming had actually managed IT/network stuff in Micronesia, so she was not in the habit of throwing old tech out. We received a lot of donated equipment from various businesses, and she saved most of it in a storage room. When she found out how interested I was in technology, she basically gave me the run of the place - allowed me to take home equipment to play with, just hang out in there during lunch and after school, put together new machines for the lab, etc. This was where I first learned about other architectures - got my hands on an old DEC Alpha.

When she saw that I had already self-taught some programming, she allowed me to skip directly to an advanced programming course, and teach myself as an independent study.

Later, she let me set up an NT server with roving profiles and network home directories for the lab, so that students in the general office suite classes could save their work on the network, keep it backed up, and their teacher would have centralized access to it. Prior to this, they were all using floppy disks.

Without that environment I'd still have been interested and involved with tech, but it sure made it easier and more interesting, and I learned a lot. I suspect that many teachers might not have been willing to allow a student so much freedom, or that policies might have forbidden it.

echo on supportive high schools (1)

jpschaaf (313847) | about 7 months ago | (#46361695)

One of my teachers in high school gave me relatively unfettered access to a mac clones that had been booted from the computer lab. My experiments in getting mklinux working on it directly tie to my current career. I have relatively little doubt that my current career stems from having unstructured access to a computer and an internet connection. Sadly, our educational institutions are addicted to structure -- I would probably be doing something much less interesting if it weren't for a teacher that bent the rules and let me do something that might today be viewed as potentially dangerous.

You do know that they're struggling with algebra.. (5, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 7 months ago | (#46361559)

... right? We really need to stop treating all high school students as equals because it hurts all of them.

The students that are having a hard time mastering literacy need a lot of remedial help. The ones that are doing very well need access to accelerated programs and additional subjects.

Do NOT group these kids together. You will make sure the kids that are behind learn NOTHING and the kids that are ahead will achieve less.

hacker vs hacker (3, Funny)

BlueMonk (101716) | about 7 months ago | (#46361585)

A good read, despite confusing hacker and hacker a bit

I can sure see the confusion. I can't see any difference between "hacker" and "hacker" myself. What am I missing?

Re:hacker vs hacker (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 7 months ago | (#46361681)

I'm wondering if the submitter meant hacker vs. cracker, given the link they used there.

Re:hacker vs hacker (1)

abednegoyulo (1797602) | about 7 months ago | (#46361761)

You mean biscuit vs cracker

Re:hacker vs hacker (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 7 months ago | (#46362635)

Or maybe Honky vs. Cracker?

Re:hacker vs hacker (2)

ZouPrime (460611) | about 7 months ago | (#46361701)

See the provided link for the "definitions".

I really like how the very last one (8. "A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around") is said to be deprecated, when it is by FAR the most commonly used, among infosec professionals, in the litterature, the media and well, pretty much everybody, for the last decade or so... The only exception being that tiny minority who still cling to the old-school definition...

But yeah... "Deprecated."

Re:hacker vs hacker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46362197)

The ignorant general public and the media should be ignored. The word "hacker" has a proper use, and so does "cracker"; people who are ignorant of these definitions should be ridiculed, no matter how numerous they are. The "old-school" definitions are right.

Re:hacker vs hacker (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 7 months ago | (#46362593)

Whoosh? They were making fun of Unknown Lamer inserting his editorial trying to be a pedant but basically failed at it by saying "hacker and hacker" instead of "hacker and cracker". It's like laughing at a grammar nazi who was trying to correct someone but failed at spelling/grammar themselves in their post.

Re:hacker vs hacker (1)

grep -v '.*' * (780312) | about 7 months ago | (#46363179)

It's the exact same difference as Spy [wikipedia.org] vs Spy [amazon.com]

Or in other words, a tool is NOT good or evil -- it's just a tool.

And it doesn't like you when you anthropomorphize. :-)

what we really need to teach... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46361665)

is critical thinking.... unfortunately that would make teacher's job of herding students impossible.

Re:what we really need to teach... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 7 months ago | (#46362269)

is critical thinking.... unfortunately that would make teacher's job of herding students impossible.

"Critical thinking" is a meaningless phrase. The wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] contains nine different definitions. It is usually advocated by befuddled people that are vaguely opposed to whatever we are currently teaching, but have no clear idea what should be done instead.

So ... can you actually describe what a lesson in "critical thinking" would look like?

Silly man (1)

imatter (2749965) | about 7 months ago | (#46361683)

hackers teach themselves

Are hackers born or made? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46361749)

I consider myself a hacker, but I can't tell you how I ended up that way. My siblings were raised similarly to me, but none of them exhibit the same tendencies that I do. I don't think my parents or teachers singled me out for hacker training. So I really wonder if it is something that can be taught. Also, if it can be taught, high school is probably too late.

Tell a lawyer they are hackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46361773)

Put the scenario they are fighting against, in a legal environment and watch them cringe.

Teach them how to walk first (1)

dejanc (1528235) | about 7 months ago | (#46361877)

While both hacking and cracking should be available to gifted students, most of them need to learn a simple skill that will take them far in life: how to file a bug report.

More companies nowadays depend on their software and good feedback from users is very hard to find. In such environment, those who can file a proper bug report, or write up an understandable feature request, can genuinely prosper.

Those who can properly ask for e.g. a data report from IT, or explain what's wrong with company's intranet website's feature that they use, usually get what they want and their productivity increases.

Any IT education should start there. Those who get hooked will learn how to "hack" (or crack...) regardless of their high school curriculum.

Yet another *my favorite subject* should be taught (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 7 months ago | (#46361889)

The educational system has turned into the educator of many trades and the master of none already.

I would argue that we teach too many subjects in high school as it is. We need to not only increase the high school graduation rates but also have the graduates have an equivalent of a 12 grade intelligence when they graduate.

Re:Yet another *my favorite subject* should be tau (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 7 months ago | (#46362209)

What is a "12 grade intelligence"? Most people are incurably unintelligent, so a "12 grade intelligence" is never going to be impressive.

the word "hacking" has become polymorphic... (2)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 7 months ago | (#46361919)

i grow tired of the never ending reframing of the word "hacker"..almost to the point of it becoming meaningless.

what TFA article is really saying is that "we want people to be motivated to use the technology to really LEARN the technology, and to do so during free time and out of the pure joy of learning how this crazy tech shit works"...kinda like learning to play a musical instrument (well, exactly like learning to play a musical instrument).

no one "teaches" someone how to play guitar...you may be shown some notes and simple phrases, but only by spending hours and hours of finger-cramping playing will one learn to play guitar. the frustration and struggle IS THE POINT.

let me say that again...THE FRUSTRATION AND STRUGGLE IS THE POINT.

that's what "hacker" should really mean...someone who endures FRUSTRATION and STRUGGLE and turns that experience into knowhow...it is really the basis of ALL LEARNING.

those that never "hack", never really learn *anything*.

Re:the word "hacking" has become polymorphic... (2)

anmre (2956771) | about 7 months ago | (#46362735)

I've always liked the comparison to musicians. As a guitarist myself, throughout my life I've "inspired" others to want to play, and so I'd set them up with everything they need to get started on the right foot. They always quit somewhere between "damn, my fingers hurt!" and "why can't I play like you, yet?"

It puzzled me until I realized that such people aren't actually interested in playing the guitar, so much as they want to prove to themselves that what they thought was easy actually is easy. In short, their childood schooling, and probably their religious beliefs, have led them to the erroneous conclusion that they can be great at anything they put their hands on.

On topic, to "hack" is to recognize one's own ignorance. Schools aren't prepared for the PTA fallout of letting kids ponder what it means to be stupid.

Re:the word "hacking" has become polymorphic... (1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 7 months ago | (#46363183)

wow...excellent insights...and I LOLed about your story about teaching others to play...I've been at it for about 30 years now, and over that time i've had close to 50 "students" come and go, and about 8 years ago I finally stopped charging people and now give "free" lessons...

my lesson? pick up your guitar for at least 30 minutes a day and play whatever easy progression that lights your fire...keep at it and even when your fingers get sore, just play single note melodies or dropped-d finger bar chords.

if your still doing that 30 days from now, ill give you your next "free" lesson...which will be, again, play 30 minutes a day for 30 more days...oh yeah check out ultimate-guitar.com...here is how you read tab...

ive found 19 out of 20 students won't make it to the third lesson...but the one that does is playing live in bands within two years or so and thanking me...lol go figure.

Re:the word "hacking" has become polymorphic... (2)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 7 months ago | (#46364629)

You apparently don't know anything about musical pedagogy. That's fine, you just need to realize that you are ignorant.

Learning to play an instrument the hacker way is exactly like being a hacker in other ways. Learning to play an instrument the non-hacker way is exactly unlike being a hacker in other ways.

The people who are really good at playing, regardless of how they were taught, have at least a little of the hacker experimentalist attitude, and try things different ways to see if it makes things easier. That doesn't mean their whole approach is based on the hacker ethic, and does not equate to hacker.

The frustration and struggle doesn't have to be the point - an elder can certainly guide you past that, steer you away from a clear dead end, and show you several options to solve a problem rather than having you invent a solution. You can put in hard work without the frustration and struggle, and still turn that experience into know-how.

And no, frustration and struggle is not the basis of all learning. Your experiences have told you this is how the world works, but your experience is not the only one people have ever had. Someone being told how to find an answer and it just makes sense the first time - they just learned, and there was no struggle nor frustration. Sitting in a room with a master and being shown simple things, you can learn an awful lot in a short time, without the frustration or struggle.

I have never seen a "hack" that was a work of art, but I have seen a great many performances that were a work of art. The pinnacle of musical ability comes after doing the same thing over and over, even if it's just a live show where you run straight through everything. A hacker will rarely do the same thing twice. Extend and extrapolate, sure, but would a hacker play the same Hayden concerto until it was perfect, then perform it repeatedly? That does not sound like the hacker ethic to me, at all. The subset of musicians who play jazz might qualify as hackers, but there are many who stick to pre-Bop Swing style solos and never do any true hacking, even if it is improvisation.

As a result of that last paragraph, I'm inclined to think that even among people who learn the hacker way, musicians would generally not meet the definition of the hacker ethic. There are exceptions, especially among guitar players, but I would wager they are enough in the minority that it would invalidate your argument.

I do agree with your first sentence and half of the next one. I most heartily disagree with everything else, pretty much more vehemently the longer you typed.

It can be done, but not in the current environment (2)

carp3_noct3m (1185697) | about 7 months ago | (#46361977)

Before I tell my anecdotal story, I want to touch on the fact that the current educational environment is not conducive to this kind of think for yourself learning. We could have a lengthy debate about why this is, and I would mostly refer you to the Reece Committee and Norman Dodd's investigation into tax-exempt foundations. Suffice to say, the fact of the matter is that TPTB don't want a mass influx of independent self-taught thinkers, they want people just smart enough to push the buttons and papers they want them to but not smart enough to go above that (unless they are part of the aristocratic oligarchic class). This is the result of the purposeful introduction of the Prussian education system as a tool of class warfare, but I digress.

I happened to be very lucky in this regard, my highschool was a middle of no-where Mormon-area HS full of hicks and religious people, but a local had been in industry and decided to come back and head the technology department of the school, and brought with him his industry contacts. It was one of the first high-schools to have the cisco networking academy, and I had my CCNA by the age of 17. Besides all that, it was the attitude of this man, who I called my mentor, (Barry Williams of Apache County, if anyone cares to look it up) which really encouraged this kind of thinking. He would encourage us to solve problems on our own, and mostly left us to our own devices. I will never forget the first year I was there, where he organized a wargame, and each of us hooked up our issued cisco routers to a network and the challenge was to be the first to take down everyone elses network. After a few minutes I had taken out two other guys, but then he told all of us to stop, walked over to all our boxen, and simply unplugged the cables.

For a 16 year old that really had an impact on me about thinking "outside the box" of given parameters. Of course this kind of teaching did have it's downsides. I was only a fringe member of the group that did it, but I will never forget the day that people in suits showed up and talked to everyone around the high-tech center but us, and then the FBI held an assembly for this school of hicks and religious people about hacking (of which maybe 15 of us knew what that even was), because, apparently "A" (a senior while I was a sophomore) wasn't joking when he told us he got into the FBI servers. (in his defense, he said he only changed a spreadsheet and then changed it right back just to see if he could). Last I heard "A" was still on the run from the FBI for crimes committed after HS, and I know I definitely was tempted a few times to do naughty blackhat things but resisted the urge. The point is that while teaching critical thinking and hacking is good for the thinking abilities of the student, there can indeed be farther reaching consequences especially if they are of a lower socioeconomic status.

Note: Wow, I haven't logged into /. in ages. Not sure how I feel about it these days, was just bored at work and saw this story.

Re:It can be done, but not in the current environm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46365359)

fuck TPTB. we need to grow a pair and redeem ourselves and our country.

self teaching. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46361987)

I m ok with the one who said self teaching are for motivated and intelligent and that only they diserve to be hackers, but we need some help to get some proper pcs home.... I m motivated for learning and all that, but since my father sold my pcs and took my phone, i can rarely get access to the internet cuz i got none device... in school we did a few thing on cisco, and we are doing some shity exercices on arduino since december... if i had the possibility at home, i would be far away from those shits i already mastered... since i got an 20/20 points, i just come to tests, in almost every subject, except french cuz i m very low in litterature... so my own family and school are just slowing me up... i wish they won t expulse me from high school, so i can study 2 years later to be diplomated as a dev.... since there is a bunch of stupid people in my class, profs arent teaching anything new...
In my opinion, the best solution would be teachers of main languages for dumbs, and just some tests each 2 or 3 years for hackers, so they could be diplomated if they succes tests, and it would be easier to find a job, while they don t need to do always the same exercices cuz of the unintelligent masses of people that are slowing each others...

IT + Linux == end times (1)

Slartibartfast (3395) | about 7 months ago | (#46362113)

I might even be tempted to stretch that to education, as well. Kind of ironic that those who should be willing to teach are often those most scared of learning.

I've had teachers for whom that was not true, and those were the ones who really shone. But most of my technology-related teachers/professors would have been terrified.

Why is it so cool to "hack" something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46362129)

I work on a software development team...being a "hack" or "hacker" isn't exactly a compliment around my job. How about you just teach kids the basics so they have the foundation to actually do something...not teach them to half-backwards engineer stuff and find the easiest way to get half of what they really want without understanding what they are doing...

The Real Lesson Learned (1)

avandesande (143899) | about 7 months ago | (#46362223)

Anything worthwhile a child can learn is done outside of school on their own volition.

Tor is building an anonymous instant messenger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46362295)

Tor is building an anonymous instant messenger

"Forget the $16 billion romance between Facebook and WhatsApp. There's a new messaging tool worth watching[1].

Tor[2], the team behind the world's leading online anonymity service, is developing a new anonymous instant messenger client, according to documents[3] produced at the Tor 2014 Winter Developers Meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland."

http://slashdot.org/submission... [slashdot.org]

[1] http://www.dailydot.com/techno... [dailydot.com]
[2] https://www.torproject.org/ [torproject.org]
[3] https://trac.torproject.org/pr... [torproject.org]

Worked for me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46362341)

This is just anecdotal, but it worked for me...

I was pulled out of school and home schooled for religious reasons at a young age. My mother tried to teach and keep up with the classwork but failed and I was left to my own devices. I had my computer and the internet and I taught myself about hardware, software, programming, networking, linux, windows, security, etc all at a young age. I've applied this self discovery in all aspects of my life and has done me well. I went to college, joined the military, used my 'hacking' skills and then left government service for independent work making six figures a year.

As much as I used to loath my mother for my poor "education" (based on the accepted norm), it worked out rather well for my life--I'm sure it could for others.

county IT kill[ed] the project (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46362893)

Good for them. I hate it when some student starts up an FTP server and it quickly gets filled with files from Asian countries. Do your experimenting at home. Same rule goes for sex ed classes.

We need to teach hijacking in college (1)

newdsfornerds (899401) | about 7 months ago | (#46362959)

Yes. We do.

bigger picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46363031)

why the traits of the hacker .... make better students and better people

So, you're saying that drinking red bull all day, bad eating habits, a huge ego/self centered, cynical/sacastic attitude, condescending, rude, and no manners, nor scruples, and badly dressing... is... better?

Had a prof in university who got in trouble once.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46363295)

In my 3rd year operating systems class, I had a prof who ended up getting some grief because he was teaching skills (and some of his homework assignments reflected this) that could have compromised the security of the school's computer networks. One of his assignments that I remember in particular, before he was told that he *HAD* to modify it by the institution would have quite literally been a full-fledged password stealer... and it could easily have been used to steal unsuspecting students' passwords on the schools computers, even though the prof said that his motivation for how he originally wanted to do the assignment was because he felt it would teach some of the principles he was addressing about computer security while still actually being fun for the students to work on.

hacking in high school (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46363363)

I though it already been done - we hack everything - ATM, CELL, bank...
did I mention ATM?

you know we are in a tech bubble (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 7 months ago | (#46363681)

When we read silly things like everyone must learn programming and this.

Schools are afraid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46364063)

Teachers and ignorant students would kill this idea in due course. I once coded up a little program in BASIC that would fill a DOS session with various lines of random garbage, but styled in such a way that it looked like something our of an 80's/early 90's computer hacking scene from a movie or something. The program itself was completely benign. Student saw it, teacher thought I was trying to break into their system or some bullshit and I got detention for my trouble (and trying to defend myself was a waste of time - why believe a person who's clearly guilty?)

There's a problem beyond the obvious ones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46364207)

The obvious problems being, most high schools simply aren't set up for this. The teachers aren't skilled. They don't have the equipment. There's no room on the curriculum.

Also, as another obvious problem. This is very much IT training and therefore job oriented. Lots of high school kids won't be going into IT. And most high schools aren't vocational.

No, the non-obvious problem is that, in order to teach hacking properly, you have to teach ethics and boundaries. And you're dealing with a collection of kids who won't, in some (many?) cases respect those boundaries anyway. Why? Some are rebelling against authority. Some hate school. Some just want to prank the systems they are hacking. Some want to prove how skilled they are, or how inept and unskilled the sysadmins are. Lots of reasons.

So the school is going to have strong violation detectors, strong sandboxes, and clear policies on what to do when a student gets caught doing something they should not do.

None of this is impossible. However I get the feeling this will be far, far more than the average high school is willing to take on. My old high school wouldn't have touched this idea with the proverbial 10 foot pole.

hackers in high school (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46364761)

i am in the middle school and i think that this would be a very good addition to high school courses.

One of the stupidest ideas ever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46364859)

Hacking = cyber crime

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46365323)

I like being in the minority. Go find your own hobby.

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